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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Mike Nash  01622 602264

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from:


·  Councillor Boughton


·  Councillor Blackmore


·  Councillor Ring



Notification of Substitute Members


It was noted that Councillor Cuming was present as a Substitute for Councillor Blackmore.



Urgent Items


There were no urgent items.



Notification of Visiting Members


It was noted that the following Councillors were present as Visiting Members:


·  Councillor McKay, who indicated that he wished to speak on Item 13. Committee Structure Review.


·  Councillor Harper, who indicated that he wished to speak on Item 13. Committee Structure Review.



Disclosures by Members and Officers


There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.



Disclosures of Lobbying


There were no disclosures of lobbying.



To consider whether any items should be taken in private because of the possible disclosure of exempt information.


RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.



Minutes of the Meeting Held on 14 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 54 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed.



Presentation of Petitions (if any)


There were no petitions.



Questions and answer session for members of the public


There were no questions from members of the public.



Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 29 KB


The Committee commented that a Member Briefing, for all Councillors, prior to the Committee Structure Review being considered at Council on 10 April 2019 would be beneficial.


RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme be noted.



Reports of Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 33 KB


The Committee thanked Councillor Round for the report.


RESOLVED: That the Headcorn Aerodrome Consultative Committee Report be noted.


Note: Councillor Fissenden arrived during consideration of this item.



Committee Structure Review pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:


Mr Sam Bailey, Democratic and Administration Services Manager, explained that the Committee Structure Review report assessed whether the original objective and principles of the committee system had been achieved.  Desktop research, surveys and interviews had been undertaken, and a Working Group had met three times to lead on the review, design the survey and interview questions and interrogate research findings.  The report included recommendations to enhance operational functionality and suggested a new committee structure.  Mr Bailey emphasised that the committee names used within the suggested structure were working titles, and were to be finalised at the Working Group.


Councillors McKay and Harper spoke on this item.


The Committee commented that:


·  A foreword was to be written by the Chairman, and circulated to the Committee prior to publication of the report, to ensure that the views of the Committee were incorporated.


·  The “Summary of Suggested Recommendations” on pages 23 to 28 was to be moved to the end of the report.  This ensured that the evidence base and findings were considered prior to the recommendations.


·  Recommendation 6 on pages 24 and 42 was to be amended, as the Committee felt that imposing a new seating arrangement for the Democratic Services Officer and Legal Officer introduced unnecessary inflexibility.  The Committee stated that current seating arrangements were often beneficial at meetings such as Planning Committee, and that a specific seating arrangement was not required if Chairmen clearly understood which Officer was responsible for providing advice on various matters.  The recommendation was therefore to read:


“That the distinct roles and responsibilities of the Democratic Services Officer and Legal Officer at committee meetings be included in the Maidstone Borough Council Constitution, and that the Chairman is aware of who to go to for appropriate advice.”


·  Recommendation 9 on pages 25 and 45 was to be modified.  Although the Committee recognised the cost and time benefits associated with the use of electronic agendas, it expressed a preference for paper agendas.  The removal of the word “may” ensured that the right to retain paper copies was clear.  The recommendation was adjusted to:


“That Maidstone Borough Council continues to move towards a ‘paperlite’ office approach for agendas and committee papers, although Members retain their right to have paper copies of agendas.  Where required, Members should have ready access to appropriate technical support to enhance their ability to use electronic documents.”


·  The word “for” in Recommendation 15, on pages 27 and 51, was to be removed to resolve a grammatical issue, so that the recommendation was:


“That the scope of delegated authority, and the process for using this, is shared and reinforced with Members and Officers, to ensure consistency of understanding.”


·  The section regarding decision making models on pages 35 and 36 was to be revised, as the Committee observed that the analysis and diagrams relating to the speed of decision making was not a true reflection of decision making in a cabinet system.


·  The final paragraph of the Case Study: Draft Sports and Playing Pitch Strategy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Duration of Meeting


6.31 p.m. to 8.31 p.m.